A Week of Big Data & High Tech for the Farm

  • 01

    Monday's major USDA reports sent ripples through the entire grain marketplace, though outside factors, namely crude oil, have kept a tight hand on the trade. Meanwhile, major industry events are showing what you can expect, tech-wise, on your farm down the road. See what else is big in ag this week.

  • 02

    Monday's USDA grain stocks, production and supply/demand reports essentially showed despite high demand, U.S. grain supplies -- soybeans in particular -- haven't fallen, leading many to speculate there are more beans in the U.S. than earlier estimates. And, that unleashed the bears Monday, pushing nearby soybeans down almost 40 cents/bushel.

  • 03

    One big takeaway from Monday's USDA reports is how the marketplace is reacting to whatever information is out there that would move the market one way or another. Lately, any normally bullish news has been already factored in by the trade. "For now, it appears that much of the bullish information is priced into the market for now," one analyst said this week.

  • 04

    A huge factor in the latest grain market action continues to be the crude oil market. Despite a little more upward movement this week, prices are still lagging below $50/barrel, and that's taking a lot of market attention away from fundamentals like Monday's USDA reports.

  • 05

    And, the crude oil storyline's not likely to go away anytime soon. Record U.S. production is expected in the next 2 years, federal data released this week show. But, will that happen if prices continue to skate at levels half of what they were a couple of years ago? Analysts are having trouble digesting this week's data.

  • 06

    Crude oil -- for which the latest nearby contract month expired, leading to a $2/barrel rally on Wednesday -- is just one "dark cloud" keeping a lid over gains in the grain market, with others being macro factors like the U.S. Dollar copper market. Find out why and what could happen moving forward from this week's report from the CME Group floor with Scott Shellady.

  • 07

    Also on the fuels side, the grains seem to be loosening its tie to the ethanol market, at least if this week's federal ethanol production report is any indication. Despite a slight increase in domestic production -- usually bullish to the corn market -- the trade didn't respond much.

  • 08

    Then, there's China. Always a major looming factor to the trade, the nation's imports of U.S. soybeans have helped keep that sector afloat recently. But, whispers that the nation might curtail its soybean imports from the U.S. Analysts say it will be critical to keep an eye on soybean export numbers the next few weeks to see if China's backing off.

  • 09

    The livestock side made some headlines this week, too. The cattle market's been on quite a ride lately, especially feeder cattle, with factors pulling both higher and lower on both sides of the production chain. There's the corn market on one side and the fed cattle market on the other, and it's fueling some major volatility -- and potential opportunity -- in the feeder pit.

  • 10

    Outside a busy market week, a couple of major sectors of industry have had a busy couple of weeks, starting with last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Though it's aimed at the consumer, the show features some of the latest innovations that can be of high utility on the farm. Check out some of our features from the show!

  • 11

    Then, there's this week's Detroit Auto Show. A huge development there has been one company seemingly going all-in with electric vehicles with the announcement of a new, less-expensive all-electric sedan. But, what about pickups for the farm? Could you ever drive an electric pickup on your place? Dig into the topic here.

  • 12

    A big factor for electric vehicles is their environment-friendliness. That kind of approach to the environment was also recognized by the federal government this week, through USDA's partnerships confirmed this week by Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to bolster water and soil conservation in more than 100 watershed projects nationwide.

While the technology and automotive industries gather, USDA releases market-moving crop data and the oil market continues to tank.

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